By Tay Yek Keak
I DON'T know if you agree, but I think Asians are getting a better deal in angmoh movies.
I say this because I saw the poster of Rain in the upcoming Hollywood actioner, Ninja Assassin, and he looked very stylo as the only person on the sheet, with big names like the Wachowski brothers of The Matrix fame right at the bottom.
Of course, the fact that a poster is just a piece of paper and I don't remember seeing a lot of Caucasians in the trailer may mean that I've been deluded.
It could turn out to be a show set in a fried-rice restaurant.
But I know that in another sword-wielding role, Korean hunk Lee Byung Hun got a lot of screen time in G.I. Joe: The Rise Of The Cobra.
He played the only part in the movie worth playing - a character named Storm Shadow - and not only that, he did the only thing in the movie worth doing - following Sienna Miller around like her BFF (best friend forever) guarding her BBF (best butt forever).
Seriously, though, the portrayal of Asians in Hollywood films has changed from the old days of Fu Manchu, Charlie Chan, MSG kitchen cooks and people air-punching to Kung Fu Fighting.
The other day, I saw Paper Heart.
It's about Charlyne Yi, an Asian American who goes around asking people across America what love is.
Charlyne wins those folk over with her non-threatening Bespectacled Nerd manner (a very useful Asian stereotype in making polite conversation), but the great thing about it is that nobody makes a reference to her ethnicity in the film, not even in a biker bar full of beer-drinking rednecks.
Having seen the girl fit in easily in the how-come-there's-an- Asian-gal-there? running gag in white-guy comedies like Seth Rogen's Knocked Up, I know there's no ethnic issue, except the chronic issue of making things funny.
Here, I think a whole new world has opened up the role of the Asian person in Hollywood.
Viewers are finding that Asians can be very funny.
That's funny in the laughing- with sense, not the laughing- at mockery.
Right now, one of the busiest fellas in the biz is a Korean American named Ken Jeong who looks like he's in every major new comedy from Jeremy Piven's The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard to Sandra Bullock's All About Steve to Vince Vaughn's Couples Retreat.
You must know this fella - he's the naked man who popped out of a car boot in The Hangover.
He's the go-to guy now for a lot of angmoh comedians who need an Asian nut to jump out of a trunk, play a sneering weasel or make like an annoying illegal immigrant.
And true to form, comical Dr Ken (that's what his Hollywood pals call him) is also a doctor in real life, so their free anal examination is taken care of.
Now, you might argue that comedy can be demeaning and nakedness humiliating.
Maybe, but I take it as the fastest way to break down barriers, short of a double-barrelled cannon.
Of course, prejudices die hard, and the Asian person in Survivor is always asked to solve the thinking challenges.
But if it's done with a big laugh, then even a side-splitting rectal examination can be fun.
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